A Year in the Life of a
Teacher Resident at Alder GSE

Residents in the Alder Teacher Residency begin their year in July and are immersed in the entire K–12 school year at their residency site. During this intensive year of preparation, residents earn their Master’s Degree and Teaching Credential. Residents graduate from Alder with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to be highly effective teachers from the first day in their own classrooms.  Read on to see what a year in the life of a resident from Cohort 2019-20 looks like.

Spotlight on July and August

The Alder Teacher Residency kicks off in July, with cohort-based and Alder-wide program orientation, as well as the start of graduate coursework.

  • Graduate Coursework: Residents from all California partners come together in July in Stockton, California, at University of the Pacific for three weeks. During this time, residents live on campus, learn about the upcoming year, and take their first graduate school courses toward their Master’s Degree.
  • Teaching: Residents will participate in their school site retreats and professional development in August. Here, they meet their new school site teammates and learn about logistics and expectations at their school. On the first day of school, residents are introduced by their mentors as co-teachers and begin to participate in all facets of the launch of the school year.
  • Weekly Seminar: Residents attend a full-day seminar with their regional cohort once a week starting in August. Seminars include cohort team-building, discussions on equity in the K–12 classroom, and opportunities for targeted teaching practice. This is a place for residents to build community with their cohort and Regional Director and an opportunity to connect their graduate coursework with what they are experiencing in their residency sites.


Spotlight on November

  • Graduate Coursework: All California-based residents are engaged in intensive online courses, having also completed another one-week, in-person set of courses in September at the University of the Pacific.
  • Teaching: Residents gradually take on increasing amounts responsibility in the classroom during the fall. In November, the co-teaching focus is on real-time coaching in which the mentor coaches the resident during instructional time. Residents also complete a 3-5 day day takeover in November. During this takeover, residents are responsible for all dimensions of teaching and learning in their residency classroom while their mentor offers coaching and support. Regional Directors also observe and coach residents as they engage in instruction.
  • Weekly Seminar: In November (and throughout the fall), weekly seminars focus on two areas of instruction: data-driven planning and assessment, and the classroom learning environment. These are high-leverage aspects of teaching. For example, each resident will explore the nuances involved in lesson planning at their school site and learn exactly how their teams marry the lesson planning process with the school’s scripted curricula. Seminars home in on the cognitive engagement of students and how it can be influenced by different strategies, structures, and mindsets used by teachers.
  • Gateways: By the end of November, residents will have also completed three Gateway assessments (Classroom Culture, Lesson Planning, Planning and Lesson Delivery). Gateways are an opportunity for residents to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in key aspects of teaching and learning.


 Spotlight on April and May

  • Graduate Coursework: Residents are deep in the midst of their Action Research course, engaging in research projects they design and execute in their placement classrooms. This is an online course, as are the remainder of the courses for the year. The final in-person courses took place in residence at the University of the Pacific at the end of January.
  • Teaching: Residents continue to engage in co-teaching with their mentor, evolving their responsibilities as the school year moves toward its end. Residents have owned all aspects of classroom instruction by this point, so the focus becomes refining and improving practice in anticipation of residents leading their own classrooms in the fall. This includes residents engaging in a 3-5 day day takeover directly following spring break and a 5-10 day takeover with the mentor out of the room near the close of the year.
  • Weekly Seminar: In the spring, seminars take a deeper dive into instruction. The focus is rigorous, individualized, purposeful teaching and learning. Seminars focus on questioning, checking for understanding, and providing students with targeted feedback, continuously tying field experiences to coursework. As the year comes to a close, residents also begin to take a look back and a look forward, with seminars focusing on three milestones for residents: edTPA, job interviews, and the Master’s Oral Exam.